HPN 35: How is Perfectionism Influencing Your Health and Wellbeing? Plus: Stress Reduction Tips For Perfectionist Types, Inside Our Kitchen, DIY Foods and More

February 24, 2023


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So starting shopping with the best there is with Thorne—also over on our Shop page—and like we say about all supplements: when you buy from the source you ensure higher efficacy and proper handling of your supplements plus you support the podcast!

Welcome to episode 35 of Holistic Performance Nutrition (HPN) featuring Tawnee Gibson, MS, CSCS, CISSN, and Julie McCloskey, CPT, a certified holistic nutrition coach who you can find over at wildandwell.fit.

Intro Banter

Ragnar SoCal 2023

  • A spot opened up on our team! The race is April 14-15, 2023 in Southern California. To get more info and join the team email events@enduranceplanet.com.

What’s On Our Menu?

Julie and Tawnee share some of their latest happenings in their respective kitchens:

Julie – a day in the life:

  • AM:  coffee with collagen if I have it. Something sweet like biscotti or a graham cracker or a cookie.
  • Breakfast: depends on my workout and time of the workout. Either oatmeal with chia, maple syrup, PB, ¼ tsp MCT oil, creatine, cinnamon OR eggs with salted cucumber and slice of bread
  • Lunch: usually eggs if I didn’t have them for breakfast, or sometimes even IF I had them for breakfast. Dinner leftovers if I have them, but normally don’t. But it’s mostly been oatmeal for breakfast and eggs/toast for lunch.
  • Snacks: bobo bites, EPIC bars, rice crackers with PB, deli meat, oysters, herbal tea on the reg in the afternoon (tulsi, licorice, throat coat if I’ve had a presentation)
  • Dinner: start with an app of chips and salsa and then make a big bowl of veg, protein, and starch with a side of bread! Rotating proteins are chicken, beef, bison, salmon. Usually the sauce is a primal kitchen dressing
  • Dessert: chocolate is eaten throughout the day and also before bed 🙂

Tawnee – assortment of current favorites:

  • Homemade gluten free bread
    • Using Happy Campers flour mix
      • Cost savings and can make without seed oils!
    • Love this bread for “salmon salad” sammies with Primal kitchen mayo + local spinach
  • Vitamin C gummies with gelatin, tart cherry juice, raw local honey & camu camu
  • Raw milk
    • Finally made the switch! Local source. 5 bucks a gallon. Wow.
  • Force of Nature meats
    • Good grassfed/grass-finished meat can be hit or miss at the store
    • Buying this in addition to a local farm source
    • Go the next step for your meat/poultry!
  • Also on oatmeal and finding a healthy balance & approach with a carb-rich breakfast (especially for breastfeeding mamas)
  • Mention: Toxic chocolate?

Female Athletes Wanted!

New study aims to discover: Should women train with respect to their menstrual cycle? You can participate…

  • Our friend and past guest Paul Laursen is looking for female athletes on new study taking place that he is part of with fellow researchers. This new study includes three novel technologies in an attempt to gather deeper insight to answer an important question for female athletes — should I train to my cycle? Triathlete Meredith Kessler is an ambassador for the study, and we’re collaborating with IOC expert in the area Professor Monica Klungland Torstveit. Their new blog explains more specifically why and what they are doing and what female athletes will get from participation.
  • Criteria and what you gain (freebies!)
  • If you are a female athlete and qualify based on above criteria, you can sign up for the study here!

New Article & A Discussion: Perfectionism

How much does perfectionism play a role in your life and influence your physical and mental health?

The Study (full text): “Cumulative lifetime stressor exposure and health in elite athletes: the moderating role of perfectionism”

  • What this study did:
    • In 2020, online survey 45min
    • Examined how cumulative lifetime stressor exposure was associated with general mental and physical health complaints in elite athletes, and the extent to which these associations were moderated by perfectionism. Participants were 110 elite athletes (64 female 45 male 1 self-described, averaging ~29-30 years old; range 18-59)
    • Competed at international or professional level
    • In survey, assessed athletes’ exposure to 55 major life stressors, including their underlying dimensions (e.g., frequency, timing, duration, and severity) – this is rare. ALso, it only measured non-sport stressors and did not assess stressors experienced specifically in the sporting context
  • What they found , according to the study:
    • More severe lifetime stressors related to poorer physical and mental health.
    • Self-oriented perfectionism moderated (even helped offset) lifetime stressor count + severity + physical health outcomes, in a positive way (but no effect on mental health).
    • They said, that these results suggest that self-oriented perfectionism may attenuate or buffer the positive association between lifetime stressor exposure and physical health complaints. This finding is consistent with prior research in sport, suggesting that this dimension of perfectionism is more complex than the others and can sometimes be associated with adaptive functioning. (In contrast, no significant moderation effects were found for self-oriented perfectionism and mental health complaints.)
    • Take-home message: address and assess lifetime stressor exposure and perfectionistic tendencies in order to improve athlete health and well-being. This includes youth vs adulthood, acute vs chronic stress.
  • Previous research found:
    • Relatively high lifetime stressor exposure fostered poorer health and well-being by promoting greater use of maladaptive long-term coping strategies, mental and physical health issues (depression, colds, respiratory infections).
    • Especially chronic difficulties (not acute) and adulthood (not youth).
  • What makes us more vulnerable or resilient (to stress-related diseases etc), though?
    • Personality traits…mental health…
  • PERFECTIONISM 101 as outlined in the article:
    • Defined as “striving for flawlessness and overly critical evaluations of behaviour;” three main types:
    • Self-oriented– Demand of perfection from the self. More ambiguous as far as neg/pos outcomes; potential to energise behaviour, which might explain why it is sometimes positively related to performance. IN this study, self-oriented perfectionism was found to moderate the relation between lifetime stressor exposure (count and severity) and physical health.
    • Socially prescribed– THIS! Belief that others expect one to be perfect. Strongest positive corr with mental health outcomes (depression and disordered eating) as well as physical health (e.g., migraines, gastrointestinal illnesses, hypertension)
    • Other-oriented– Demand of perfection from others. Positive corr but effects smaller
  • Theoretical pathways through which perfectionism may affect stress according to the article:
    • Stress perpetuation, refers to the tendency for those high in perfectionism to maintain a stressful episode via the use of maladaptive coping techniques (e.g., rumination over mistakes).
    • Stress enhancement, refers to the tendency for those high in perfectionism to adopt self-defeating cognitive appraisals (e.g., threat, harm, loss), resulting in the magnification of stress (e.g., over-emphasising the importance of minor mistakes).
  • Study flaw(s) according to the article:
    • Small sample; not enough data to get a significant finding
    • Bias or trying to hide the truth in responses to the survey
    • Not a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study…
  • Relevant points to consider:
    • Threat vs challenge … what do we see it as when appraising potentially stressful situations
    • Elite athletes = signs of perfectionism = Perfectionism = linked with ill health
    • Perfectionism + adrenal health correlation
    • What is driving us? How is this tied into our identity? What should we lean into and work on/shed?
    • How can we apply all this to our own lives?
      • Tawnee and Julie get very candid on their on experiences as perfectionist, what was driving their perfectionism, the roots of these traits, and how they manage perfectionism in their lives now (better awareness and eliminating negative effects that come with perfectionism as best as possible)
    • Stress-reduction techniques for a perfectionist
    • Podcast mention: Dr. Phil Maffetone on Self-Care During Uncertain times 


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